Google is constantly improving its ranking and search algorithms making it difficult for marketers to keep up and readjust. However, Google is not that unpredictable. If you look at all the updates implemented so far, you can notice a few tendencies, and following them should keep you in Google’s good graces.
Google favors relevancy
Have you ever thought why so many people prefer Google over other search engines? Aside from being a matter of habit, searching with Google is usually a fast and easy way to find what you are looking for. And Google wants to keep it that way by lowering rankings of low-quality websites that don’t offer enough relevant content. A few tips for looking relevant in Google’s eyes:
– Create original content aiming for quality vs. quantity
– If you require visitors to register before viewing your content, make sure you offer enough “free” content for Google to index and consider your site relevant
Google wants to provide a pleasant experience for its users
What does “pleasant experience” mean for the search engine users? Once again, it’s the speed and relevancy of the search. And even if your site is a resource for well-written detailed articles, they should be easily accessible to rank high:
– Don’t feature too many ads and affiliate links “above the fold,” because no one likes to keep scrolling down to find what they came for
– Generally avoid overloading your site with ads, because neither you nor Google wants the visitors navigating away from your page to look for answers via one of the featured links
Google likes fresh content
By fresh I mean both new/original and recently published. Very often users are looking for the most recent information on the topic, because outdated information is likely to be irrelevant for their search. Take Facebook for example, it changes so often, that an article on “how to change your privacy settings” from 2 years ago is useless in 2012 (unless you are doing a comparative analysis). So how do you “stay fresh?”
– Introduce a dynamic section of the website (such as a blog or a newsfeed) that can be updated on a daily or weekly basis
– Date your blog posts to help your readers place your content in the time continuum
Google penalizes shady SEO tactics
If you don’t follow Google’s rules, you will get slapped at some point. If you are outsourcing SEO, be sure to ask the company how exactly they are improving your rankings. Using black-hat methods might bring great results in the short term, but may get you in trouble in the long run. Here are a few things to avoid:
– Duplicating or spinning content to link more keywords. This technique creates redundant articles that don’t usually give the best answer to the query. While targeting keywords, remember that you are writing for humans!
– Creating empty pages just to link to other pages
– Hiding text or links (white text on a white background)
– Loading content with irrelevant keywords
– Automatically redirecting users to the pages irrelevant to the search
– Otherwise spamming or intentionally confusing people
Try looking at your website from the user perspective. Just like how you would get frustrated searching for the right content in a clutter of links and ads, so will your website visitors. Optimizing your fresh and unique content for relevant keywords and making it easily accessible is the key to staying on Google’s “nice” list.
Of course, there is a possibility that your website can get affected by search algorithm updates even if you don’t do anything wrong. However, the recovery should be quick, and if you encounter any problems, contact us! Aside from web design, we are also a talented Maryland SEO company that has helped many of our clients improve their rankings.